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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,


I'm planning to build a new HTPC in the next coming days/weeks. I've already dropped the idea of having dolby true hd etc. because of the fact I find the Asus Xonar HDAV to be too expensive for now. What I'm looking for in the new build:


- acceptably quiet (inaudible at 3 meters should be doable I think)

- fairly high performance (no gaming but some video transcoding)

- low-power

- budget

1st post so sorry for not being able to post urls to the components


So, that being said, I've compiled a preliminary list of components:

Enclosure
Zalman HD160 Plus
Power Supply
Nexus Value 430

quiet and cheap
Motherboard
Asus P5Q Turbo

eSATA might prove usefull later on, good quality P45 board without active cooling components
Processor
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550s 65W

low-power, good performance, somewhat expensive...
Memory
Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB (2x2GB)
Hard disk
Seagate Barracuda LP ST31000520AS 1TB

low power, quiet, 5900rpm, acceptable performance, NAS will be primary storage
Optical drive
LiteOn BD-ROM 4x

fairly quiet according to what I read, cheap
Wireless NIC
HP Wireless-N PCI Express x1 FH971AA

PCI-E 1x, external antenna with cable
Graphics
Club3D 9500GT Passive # CGNX-HG952YI

passive cooling, SPDIF IN = Audio through HDMI
Sound
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium

Multi-channel SPDIF out
CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-C12P

quiet, low enough to fit into the case I hope (can someone confirm?)
Input
Adesso Wireless Mini Keyboard WKB-3000UB

I'd rather go for Bluetooth but apparently the touchpad on the DiNovo Edge from Logitech doesn't work all too well.
Cables

Belkin HDMI 1.5m
Dampening
Nexus DampTek
Cardreader
Scythe Kama Reader 2


All comments and suggestions are very much appreciated.


Cheers,

K!
 

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Loose the sound card, you don't need that. Onboard sound is pretty good nowadays. Also, seems like you want audio over HDMI. So I would suggest a ATI HD4XXX series over Nvidia. All HD4XXX series cards have a onboard audio chip which can pass 8-ch LPCM audio, while Nvidia can only do SPDIF (and that too with a connection). With the ATI, no connections are req'd since it is onboard the video card.

All in all, a powerful HTPC.

I assume you are somewhere in Europe. Here (in the US), Newegg has sales going on all the time with AMD combos; recently got a motherboard for free with a AMD X4 955 for $220. See if you can find something like that over there and you can save a lot of money while still getting similar processing power.

Who knows, if you save enough you might be able to afford the Xonar HDAV Slim.
 

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Thats not a HTPC - thats a VERY low end gaming machine. If you want a HTPC then read this-

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post14239742


Then come back and ask

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcdaemon /forum/post/16928940


Hi all,


I'm planning to build a new HTPC in the next coming days/weeks. I've already dropped the idea of having dolby true hd etc. because of the fact I find the Asus Xonar HDAV to be too expensive for now. What I'm looking for in the new build:


- acceptably quiet (inaudible at 3 meters should be doable I think)

- fairly high performance (no gaming but some video transcoding)

- low-power

- budget

1st post so sorry for not being able to post urls to the components


So, that being said, I've compiled a preliminary list of components:

Enclosure
Zalman HD160 Plus
Power Supply
Nexus Value 430

quiet and cheap
Motherboard
Asus P5Q Turbo

eSATA might prove usefull later on, good quality P45 board without active cooling components
Processor
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550s 65W

low-power, good performance, somewhat expensive...
Memory
Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB (2x2GB)
Hard disk
Seagate Barracuda LP ST31000520AS 1TB

low power, quiet, 5900rpm, acceptable performance, NAS will be primary storage
Optical drive
LiteOn BD-ROM 4x

fairly quiet according to what I read, cheap
Wireless NIC
HP Wireless-N PCI Express x1 FH971AA

PCI-E 1x, external antenna with cable
Graphics
Club3D 9500GT Passive # CGNX-HG952YI

passive cooling, SPDIF IN = Audio through HDMI
Sound
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium

Multi-channel SPDIF out
CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-C12P

quiet, low enough to fit into the case I hope (can someone confirm?)
Input
Adesso Wireless Mini Keyboard WKB-3000UB

I'd rather go for Bluetooth but apparently the touchpad on the DiNovo Edge from Logitech doesn't work all too well.
Cables

Belkin HDMI 1.5m
Dampening
Nexus DampTek
Cardreader
Scythe Kama Reader 2


All comments and suggestions are very much appreciated.


Cheers,

K!
 

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- Q9550S (US$320) is a waste of money. Go for Core i7 920 ($284) or Q9400 ($183). AnandTech Q9550S review . Idle/x264 power consumption:


Core i7 920: 102W/165W

Q9550S: 117W/160W

Q9400: 124W/166W


At idle Q9550S system runs hotter than Core i7! x264 HD Benchmark (Second Pass): Core i7 is 42% faster than Q9550S!


Core i7 920: 26.7 fps

Q9550S: 18.8 fps

Q9400: 17.9 fps


- Club3D 9500GT Passive # CGNX-HG952YI: Why not choose Radeon HD 4670? (I assume you have a HDMI receiver.)


- Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium: a waste. Should you use S/PDIF, onboard audio codec is enough, there is no difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanglx /forum/post/16929110


Thats not a HTPC - thats a VERY low end gaming machine. If you want a HTPC then read this-


-url stripped-


Then come back and ask

You came to this conclusion because it doesn't have a Micro-ATX motherboard, because it has a fairly large enclosure of other reasons? Could you please elaborate?

FYI, I -did- read the post you mentioned, but I just don't see how that proves your point.


/K
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by hirent /forum/post/16929041


Loose the sound card, you don't need that. Onboard sound is pretty good nowadays. Also, seems like you want audio over HDMI. So I would suggest a ATI HD4XXX series over Nvidia. All HD4XXX series cards have a onboard audio chip which can pass 8-ch LPCM audio, while Nvidia can only do SPDIF (and that too with a connection). With the ATI, no connections are req'd since it is onboard the video card.

All in all, a powerful HTPC.

I assume you are somewhere in Europe. Here (in the US), Newegg has sales going on all the time with AMD combos; recently got a motherboard for free with a AMD X4 955 for $220. See if you can find something like that over there and you can save a lot of money while still getting similar processing power.

Who knows, if you save enough you might be able to afford the Xonar HDAV Slim.

I must say that for the graphics card I didn't really think about AMD/ATI. I recently switched my workstation to an nvidia because of horrible Linux compatibility with the HD4870. I'll probably run some kind of Windows version on the HTPC so I might consider that. I found a 4350 card with HDMI output so I'll have a look at the reviews of that one.

I've never seen any combo offers like the one you mentioned but I'll have a look around.


/K
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcdaemon /forum/post/16929345


I must say that for the graphics card I didn't really think about AMD/ATI. I recently switched my workstation to an nvidia because of horrible Linux compatibility with the HD4870. I'll probably run some kind of Windows version on the HTPC so I might consider that. I found a 4350 card with HDMI output so I'll have a look at the reviews of that one.

I've never seen any combo offers like the one you mentioned but I'll have a look around.


/K

Yes, ATI sucks with Linux apparently. I've never tried it but anybody who has says the same thing.

However, Windows works just fine. Windows 7 is much better and will work well on your build. I would have said your build is overkill for a HTPC but if you do a lot of video editing and encoding then you might need the power.

I do agree with some of the above comments about the 9550 though. You could do better with some other choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/16929150


- Q9550S (US$320) is a waste of money. Go for Core i7 920 ($284) or Q9400 ($183). AnandTech Q9550S review . Idle/x264 power consumption:


Core i7 920: 102W/165W

Q9550S: 117W/160W

Q9400: 124W/166W


At idle Q9550S system runs hotter than Core i7! x264 HD Benchmark (Second Pass): Core i7 is 42% faster than Q9550S!


Core i7 920: 26.7 fps

Q9550S: 18.8 fps

Q9400: 17.9 fps


- Club3D 9500GT Passive # CGNX-HG952YI: Why not choose Radeon HD 4670? (I assume you have a HDMI receiver.)


- Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium: a waste. Should you use S/PDIF, onboard audio codec is enough, there is no difference.

Hi,


I did the math and a Core i7 system would run me about 10 euros more than the Q9550s system, so that's negligible. Then I'd have following changes:


Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R motherboard

Intel Core i7 920

Kingston ValueRAM 4GB - 1066Mhz

Nexus LOW-7000 CPU cooler (still fairly quiet according to reviews)

If needed later on, I'd have to add an eSATA add-in card later on, since this is not on the motherboard.


Update on post before: I found the HD4670 Ultimate Edition from Sapphire, which is passively cooled and is only a 15 euros premium on top of the 9500GT, but since I can leave out the soundcard that solution makes it about 50e cheaper.


@hirent and renethx, thanks for the useful suggestions!


/K
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcdaemon /forum/post/16929481


Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R motherboard

Intel Core i7 920

Kingston ValueRAM 4GB - 1066Mhz

I believe the Core i7s support Triple channel memory and faster speeds than 1066; though you will have to read up about it. So you might be better off getting 3 or 6 GB in a faster spec.

Since you are spending a big chunk on the CPU-MB it might be worthwhile to spend more on the memory too.
 

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You listed a quadcore CPU with 4 GB of memory but then you skimped on the Video Card. The 9500GT is a waste of card and only fits in the low end gaming market.


I think what most miss is what their overall goals are. If your looking to just do HT computing then a low end dual core (recent one) with 2GB of ram is sufficient.


What matters in a HTPC is a few things in my opinion (no order as everyone will have their priorities):

1. Form factor - this is subjective but it is important because it will dictate your components

2. Power Consumption - again will dictate your components

3. Noise/Heat - Too much and the fan noise will drown out your experience

4. Video Quality - Must be able to play HD Video at all frame rates and resolutions - Must support HDMI for Video

5. Audio Quality - Must be able to play all formats including HD formats. Must support HDMI for audio.

6. Component Manufacturers - If your into building PCs then you will know what brands to stick to and to stay away from

7. And of course - what are you going to use it for

8. Price


1. I want relatively small

2. I want medium to low power that will fit my form factor

3. I want minium noise and heat I am less concerned as the case is well ventilated.

4. I want the BEST Video can buy - I dont want to stress the CPU, I want all the wiz bang I can get. I dont want slowdown, I dont want audio sync issues, and I want to be able to watch the video in Vista Media Center

5. I want the BEST audio can get - I can live with LPCM but bitstreaming to my Pioneer Elite would be nice. I would be willing to sacrifice bit streaming for a good user interface - sometimes you cant get both right now (thanks TMT and PwrDVD for the lack of real integration with VMC, etc.)

6. I like Asus, Gigabyte for MBs, ATI, Nvidia for Video - I dont like AMD for CPU or MB.. I dont like Intel for Video. Must have ESATA, SATA, USB and Gigabit Network to future proof myself.

7. Movies, Music, Pics, Web, Email and very very mild gaming - No ripping, encoding, remuxing or transcoding - this is handled by the work machine in my office.

8. Under $600


If you read my priorities and what I want:

I would choose from this URL:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ATXSysMidRange


The Intel / Nvidia Mid range is the one I would go for.. and go with the Gigabyte motherboard as it fits my component expectations of Gigabit Network, Mild Gaming (faster GPU), ESATA, USB, etc.


The URL I provided I believe has THE BEST setup recommendations - I did not write that thread but I 100% agree with their recommendations.


I have built 3 HTPCs using this guide as my bible for setup and it has not failed me yet. Your list will be different because your priorities are different - thats OK just choose the components that are tried and true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcdaemon /forum/post/16929292


You came to this conclusion because it doesn't have a Micro-ATX motherboard, because it has a fairly large enclosure of other reasons? Could you please elaborate?

FYI, I -did- read the post you mentioned, but I just don't see how that proves your point.


/K
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks stanglx for the clarification.


Now, I did some additional reading on the suggested Gigabyte motherboard (with the 9400 chipset) and reading all that I could honestly live with onboard graphics in this case as it also supports NVIDA Cuda for CPU offloading in some tasks.

Do you think I would benefit from a dedicated graphics card, keeping into account that I will do 0.00 gaming on it. If even only a little (visible) improvement I'd be interested.


The only thing I have major doubts about is the CPU. I will probably be running TVersity on the HTPC to stream my media to an Xbox360 in another room. Tversity has to do all the transcoding so I'm wondering if an E7200/E7400 will be up to this task (I'm talking MKV transcoding too). I'm not planning on converting my storage box into a streaming server, this data is shared with Linux boxes around the house and I'd like to keep it data-only.


According to the Corsair website, the recommended PSU runs at around 21dbA whereas the Nexus Value 430 gives these results according to silentpcreview:

20-150W: 11dbA (!!!)

200W: 16dbA

250W: 18dbA

Full load: 19dbA

What's your take on this?


Thanks again to everybody for the useful input, it's more than appreciated.


/K
 
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